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Adi Sankara’s guidelines for Right Conduct

Shankaracharya-Jagadguru

Shankaracharya-Jagadguru

Charity that is extended willingly and with deep affection, possession of wisdom without even a tinge of arrogance, valour accompanied by patience, and wealth in the hands of those, who are liberal, are reckoned as the most precious traits that man should display. They are as rare as obtaining the most valuable and legendary gem (called Chintamani).

What is to be regretted is the tendency of some rich men not to donate even for noble causes. The Goddess of Wealth will present Herself only to those who are prepared to tell hard and who tread the path of virtue.

Several guidelines to enable mankind to lead a dedicated life have been given in the form of answers to doubts raised by ardent aspirants by Adi Sankara in one of his greatest works – the Prasnothramalika. One of them says that a man can get over his grief if he remains courageous and has a partner who is dutiful and responsible. As many as 65 suggest tions, covering all aspects of man’s activities are there.

Explaining the contents of this work, Sri T.S.Balakrishna Sastrigal said, the really blind (though he may have eyes) is one who indulges in prohibited acts, the deaf who does not listen to sane advice and the dumb, one who fails to talk pleasantly on the right occasions. Man’s prized possession is his character. A genuine friend is one who dissuades the other from resorting to sinful deeds.

The ephemeral worldly pleasures can be compared to robbers; a truly educated person should be in a position to sift the good from the bad. Man’s real enemy is his indolence and tendency not even to try to do a job. Problems will not confront a person who seeks the advice of the learned elders.

The Prasnotharamalika urges us to live amidst pious persons. Men should go after acquisition of knowledge, wealth, strength, fame and the fruits of virtuous acts. Never should a person utter lies or speak about others defects or wrongs. One of the doubts raised is about the important factor that should govern our activities. For this, Adi Sankara has referred to the need to carry out one’s duties and associate oneself with only those of impeccable conduct. Borrowing should be abjured and a tarnished image is worse than death.Saintly persons are those who will be ever contented and whose strength lies in God. A person who is a free from anger will not experience sorrow.

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